Again like our post about the Dalton Highway, we thought we would take this opportunity to introduce the Dempster for those who are going to embark on this specific road this summer. Also, for those who missed our summer 2011 post about this amazing road. The DEMPSTER…what to say. All depends on the weather and you own riding sanity and tolerance. Take extra gas on this trip and we hope everyone has nothing but SUN!
Click on the links below if you want to read our posts from last year when we were blogging live from the road.
The Dempster Highway, also referred to as Yukon Highway 5 and Northwest Territories Highway 8, is a highway that connects the Klondike Highway in Yukon, Canada to Inuvik, Northwest Territories on the Mackenzie Riverdelta. During the winter months, the highway extends another 194 km (121 mi) to Tuktoyaktuk, on the northern coast of Canada, using frozen portions of the Mackenzie River delta as an ice road (the Tuktoyaktuk Winter Road). The highway crosses the Peel River and the Mackenzie Rivers using a combination of seasonal ferry service and ice bridges.
The highway begins about 40 km (25 mi) east of Dawson City, Yukon on the Klondike Highway and extends 736 km (457 mi) to Inuvik.
Much of the highway follows an old dog sled trail. The highway is named after Royal Canadian Mounted Police Inspector William Dempster, who, as a young constable, frequently ran the dog sled trail from Dawson City to Fort McPhersonNWT.
We went up this road on July 8th 2011 the same day some poor V Strom rider lost his life. The Dempster can be deceiving as can many of the roads up in the north. If the road is dry it’s a good as pavement. But you see since the Dempster Highway is so long being dry in one area does not mean you can assume it will be dry for your entire days ride. Pockets of storm cells pop up without you ever seeing it and then voila the road can turn wet in an instance. That is when we found we needed to slow it down and take stock. The road becomes a very slippery mess after it gets wet and if you are not paying attention can wake you up just like that.
It’s beautiful and can get hairy at the same time. OK, enough said….one thing is for sure riding the Dempster will be your own experience. You might meet some that say it is a piece of cake and then meet some like us who would say enjoy, be careful and heed the warning when it’s raining out. Things become more interesting in the rain than one can ever prepare for….good luck!
Last picture is us heading into a storm on our way out that lasted 300 KM. We would go back in a heartbeat now that we think about it! Have fun 2012 Northern riders!